So you’ve had a good idea, found all the tools you needed to make it a reality, built your product and now you’re thinking about how to get your first user. There are many different stages in which to introduce new users to your new product & we believe the sooner you get users the faster your app idea is going to be validated — not to mention, really fit with the intended audience.
The story is all too common that a creator becomes so excited about their idea they forget to make sure other people will actually want to solve the problem, in the way you’re planning to solve it. Before spending too much time, money, or other resources creating something that won’t be used, do the work up front to really understand your audience and build for the pain points they have.
If you’ve done this, it’s likely you already have your first users & understand how to market to them. If you didn’t do it this way — no need to fret, there are plenty of opportunities to find your first users and they will be just as helpful.
Go Where Your Customers Are
Whatever app you’re creating, there are similarities between the people that will gain the most from using your app.
Is your app for churches? Go to church.
Is your app for travelers? Reach out to AirBnB hosts.
Is your app for motorcycle riders? Visit the local Harley Davidson.
This may sound obvious, but it’s not as obvious as it seems. Sometimes finding your first customers means finding them exactly where they’re at & approaching them in their own space. If your app is for travelers & you reach out through AirBnB, then this person is already in the headspace of traveling and accommodations, it’s not a far leap to talk about a traveling app. It would, however, be a far leap to try to talk them into an app about selling used books.
Understanding your primary audience & where you can find them can help you pinpoint exactly where you need to go to reach them.
Launch on Product Hunt
Product Hunt, a platform for discovering new things, is a great starting point for launching your app. Every single day dozens of new products are launched and found by the people interested in trying new products. Anything and everything is launched on Product Hunt nowadays from new podcasts to physical products, developers tools & lots more in between.
What’s more, the people that find you through Product Hunt are not only interested in learning about new products they also want to try those products!
Successful launches include a video, product images, and descriptions about your product. I’ve also seen successful launches offer something, like a discount, for people that sign up with a special Product Hunt code. Another bonus of launching on Product Hunt is if your product gets enough upvotes, it will be featured in the newsletter the following day that goes out to 100s of thousands of people. That’s a lot of eyeballs on your product!
Niche Newsletters & Communities
Similar to going where your customers are — find the niche newsletters that publish content similar to what your app addresses or communities and forums. There are newsletters for just about everything under the sun nowadays (for some audiences, there are multiple newsletters: shout out No-Code) and if you find one, offer to write a post for them, offer to sponsor a newsletter, or offer a coupon for new users.
What’s nice about these niche audiences is as long as you understand your user & have reached out to the right audience, they’re likely going to be interested in trying out what you have to offer.
Facebook Groups and Reddit are great places to start, but make sure to review community guidelines & to make clear that you are the creator of the product you are advertising.
The truth about finding your first app user is that most of the time it ends up being your family & friends — and that’s great! As long as they’re willing to be honest with the feedback and they have a good understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve. While your very close friends and family are great for an ego boost, they might not be the best to give constructive feedback. But a first user is a first user and family & friends count!
Finding your first users is integral to validating your idea & scaling into the future. You have to have one user before you can have one hundred and that’s true for every app under the sun! But the work doesn’t stop there, once you have your first users, that’s only the first step — what next? Feedback.
Ask for Feedback Often
Once you get app users, it’s important to ask for their feedback — and often. Whether you send out emails, display in app messages, have a special screen with a feedback form, set up customer calls, any of these methods is acceptable.
The point of gathering feedback is to uncover a few different things:
- What can you do to improve the user experience.
- Whether or not there is any missing features or functionality.
- If any of the current features or functionality does not work as intended.
While there will be some feedback that can be ignored, for example someone doesn’t like the app colors or font, there will be feedback that can not go ignored. Your users, assuming you’re talking with the right audience, know their problems and understand exactly how they intend to use your app with real-world scenarios, which also means they have pretty good insight into how they would like your app to function.
Iterate on that Feedback
There is not one piece of work that I have put into this world that would not benefit from a second (or third, or fourth) pass at improving the output. Unfortunately, the same goes for your app. Once you collect your users’ feedback, it’s time to take action.
The process for your app will be to get feedback, iterate, introduce new feature, get feedback, iterate, repeat for the life of your app. Your users will thank you and become lifelong customers if they recognize that when they provide feedback, you implement it.
While it’s impossible to act on all feedback at the same time, communicate with your customers about what is coming down the pipeline, what is being worked on & when they can expect new releases. That kind of transparency goes a long way in earning you very loyal customers.
Expand Your Audience
At this point you’ve gotten your first users, asked for feedback, acted on that feedback and understand this will be the cycle you’ll be in forever with your product. You’re at the perfect point to get more users and expand your audience.
While you may have utilized one of the tips from above to get your initial users, use another one of the tips to expand your audience. Each time you try a new tip, you’ll get new users which will come with their own set of feedback.
Gaining your first couple users is an awesome first step to creating a successful app. Everyone has to start somewhere and for everyone that is the first user — what you do after will determine what success looks like. Use some of these tips to attract your first users and listen to them when they have feedback & you’ll be off the races for finding more users & improving your app! Good luck!